Jan Schachter

Jan Schachter

Portola Valley, California

I first encountered clay at age 6, sculpting animals in the basement of a hobbyist / ceramics teacher in Queens, New York. I intermittently continued building with clay throughout grade school. In high school an art teacher demonstrated throwing on the wheel and encouraged my interest in ceramics. In 1964, while employed as a research microbiologist in New York City, I began attending evening classes at Greenwich House Pottery.

After marrying in 1965 and while raising two children, I continued working part-time with clay for the next 14 years. I worked as a volunteer in numerous community programs and helped establish a potter's support group - the Hudson River Potters. In addition to creating my own work, I attended many ceramic classes and workshops, and studied weaving and basketry as well. I also became the founding director of a non-profit municipal gallery, The Gallery at Hastings on Hudson.

In 1978 my husband and I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area. I realized this was my opportunity to focus on clay full time, something I had long wanted to do. After settling with my family in Palo Alto, I established a studio in Mountain View, "Plum Tree Pottery". Working in the shade of a yellow plum tree, I concentrated on developing distinct forms and glazes.

In 1989 I moved my studio to a warehouse in downtown Palo Alto where the evolution of my work continued. Recognizing that my warehouse studio would not be available much longer, my family and I moved 7 miles west to Portola Valley in 1993. We immediately made plans to build a studio at home. I now have the pleasure of making pots in a studio of my own design.

I enjoy making pots for everyday use; each is a subtle variation of a form - usually thrown in a series. I am a perfectionist (as much as the process allows) and am constantly in search of the perfect surface and ideal form while striving to create pots that have life and vitality. I have a casserole included in the permanent collection of the Renwick Gallery, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

Made by Jan Schachter